9.743 politics: tenure, strike

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Fri, 19 Apr 1996 19:15:26 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 743.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Tzvee Zahavy <zahavy@andromeda.rutgers.edu> (114)
Subject: Minnesota -- Tenure

[2] From: Alckmar Luiz dos Santostora <alckmar@cce.ufsc.br> (13)
Subject: strike

From: Tzvee Zahavy <zahavy@andromeda.rutgers.edu> (114)
Subject: Minnesota -- Tenure

from the Minnesota Daily


Tenure revisions driven by administration

By Carol L. Wells

Because revisions to the tenure code should originate with the faculty,
there has been much debate over who is driving the present review of the
tenure code. What follows adds to the emerging evidence that the
re-engineering process at the Academic Health Center is the driving force.
Below is evidence of a Machiavellian plot to steamroller changes to the
tenure code within a short time period, thus prohibiting meaningful faculty

Re-engineering is being imposed on the AHC by former provost William Brody
and the CSC Index consulting group. According to CSC Index documents (not
widely circulated), tenure must be altered quickly. CSC Index documents
state: "... to be more flexible, implement changes more rapidly. In order to
do that, need to change tenure and faculty governance." The proposed tenure
code revisions will ease restrictions on the reassignment and termination of
tenured faculty, and will force tenured faculty to leave by decoupling
compensation from tenure. According to CSC Index documents, these decisions
affecting faculty employment will be made by a "head of the academic unit."
It is difficult to define this person because all departments and schools
will disappear as we know them, to be replaced by academic focus groups
consisting of approximately 5 to 40 faculty members each. The AHC provost
must approve both the group itself and its leadership, which is to rotate
every three years. Thus, the provost will at least indirectly approve the
area of scholarly pursuit addressed by each group. Every faculty member, say
the documents, must belong to a group from which he or she will receive all
administrative support services, so unless a faculty member chooses a group,
he or she will receive no support, such as a telephone, an office, and so
on. Academic freedom will be dealt a mortal blow, but administrators gain
flexibility to approve and disapprove of areas of academic pursuit.

According to Section 19 of the tenure code, proposed amendments may come from
any source, to be submitted to the regents by the Faculty Senate, but only
after the Senate has solicited recommendations from three key faculty
governing bodies, namely the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Judicial
Committee and the Tenure Committee. This scenario ensures adequate faculty
input into any proposed amendment. University President Nils Hasselmo has
stressed "the absolute necessity of having the faculty leadership conduct
the review, and having the revisions come through the proper faculty
governance mechanism." However, the administration is imposing an
unreasonably short time period for consideration of tenure code revisions.
It is unclear who is imposing this time limit, but Hasselmo has claimed it
is the Board of Regents. Thus, the Faculty Senate is scheduled to begin
discussion of tenure code amendments this Thursday, April 18, without the
completed documents (recommendations) from the three pertinent faculty
governing committees. These three committees are not being irresponsible,
but have only received he proposed amendments within the last several weeks.

Not only has there not been time for responsible and complete review, but
some amendments are only partially articulated, making them impossible to
review even at this late date. Particularly offensive is a new
interpretation to Section 12.2 of the tenure code. Upon elimination or
downsizing of an academic unit (with "unit" undefined), administrators have
the authority to:

(a) require a faculty member to work as a "loaned employee to other
institutions or entities";

(b) require a faculty member to "take on professional or administrative
duties that would normally be performed by persons in other job
lassifications"; and

(c) assign a faculty member "to educational or training programs to develop
or refine skills that later may be useful to the University."

Several proposed amendments contain the words "no recourse" in describing the
rights of faculty members to challenge administrative decisions. The Senate
Judicial Committee has not had time to consider whether these amendments
violate basic rights of due process. Fred Morrison, one of the four
attorneys who drafted the proposed tenure code amendments, has stressed that
"all proposals for change be fully considered on their merits by relevant
bodies." Careful review by relevant faculty governing bodies has never been
more critical.

Why the rush to pass these amendments quickly? When was the decision made to
revise the tenure code? Dr. Leo Furcht has been one of the top
administrators in the re-engineering effort and assumed a key leadership
role in June 1995. Furcht was subsequently appointed vice provost of the AHC
by Provost Brody in December 1995. Throughout this process, Furcht has been
working closely with the CSC Index group while maintaining his position as
chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. On November
13, 1995, approximately 40 tenured faculty in the Department of Laboratory
Medicine and Pathology attended a department meeting. To justify an action
he had taken several months earlier, Furcht explained that he had acted
under the assumption that "tenure as we know it will not exist next year."
Although many faculty were confused by this statement, this statement
permits us to safely assume that Furcht was aware of the assault on tenure
by at least the summer or early fall of 1995. According to the scenario put
forward by central administration, however, the decision to revise the
tenure code was made at a later date. At their October 1995 meeting, the
Board of Regents initiated a discussion of tenure. On October 19, Carl
Adams, chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee, announced the formation
of a Tenure Working Group (without prior consultation with the Faculty
Consultative Committee). Then, on November 20, 1996, President Hasselmo sent
a letter to Thomas Reagan, chairman of the Board of Regents, requesting that
tenure be reviewed because it imposes "rigidities and a lack of flexibility."

Thus, evidence indicates that at least one top administrator, Furcht, knew
of the present drastic revisions in the tenure code in early fall of 1995 --
revisions that would eliminate tenure as we know it. Why were these
amendments only recently distributed to the key faculty governing bodies,
and why is the administration forcing the Faculty Senate to begin discussing
these amendments before the appropriate governing bodies have had time to
conduct responsible reviews? This scenario suggests a plot designed by
administrators who are neither acting in good faith nor in the best
interests of their faculty.

The Faculty Senate is urged not to follow the timetable imposed by the
administration because it precludes the required scholarly review of these
amendments by the mandated faculty governing bodies. The Faculty Senate is
urged to avoid discussion of these amendments prior to complete
consideration by the appropriate faculty governing bodies. Any discussion by
the Faculty Senate, no matter how negative, may be interpreted by the
administration to have satisfied the requirement for faculty input under
Section 19 of the tenure code. The regents could simply overrule Faculty
Senate recommendations. Unfortunately, in these times of faculty mistrust of the
administrators, this possibility cannot be safely eliminated. Therefore, be
it advised that any discussion of these proposed amendments to the tenure
code at the Faculty Senate endangers all of the faculty at the University of

Carol L. Wells, Ph.D., is a tenured faculty member in the Departments of
Laboratory Medicine & Pathology and Surgery.

Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 09:16:21 -0500 (CDT)
From: Alckmar Luiz dos Santostora <alckmar@cce.ufsc.br>
Subject: strike

Brazilian government's policy in relation to education has been
ambiguous. The official discourse tends to reinforce the importance of
basic education, but no actions are being put forward to improve it. On
the contrary, there is no effort to enable universities to prepare future
teachers for the basic education.
The government has cut almost all fundings for research, and, most
important, our wages are extremely low (US$1,500.00 a month). A lot of
professors have not been able to make ends meet.
As civil servants, we decided to go on strike, in order to urge
politicians to make real and profound changes in education.
We are not opposed to the principle that basic education is very
inportant for Brazil's development and we believe that this strike can
help authorities to make the correct decisions concerning education
(basic, graduate and undergraduate courses).